Cuban gay rights activists held an unauthorized pride parade in Havana this weekend despite a warning against it by the Communist government, which called it subversive.
Activists had called for their own parade after the state-run National Center for Sex Education, or Cenesex, led by Mariela Castro, the daughter of the Communist Party leader, Raúl Castro last week abruptly canceled its 12th annual conga against homophobia, Cuba’s equivalent of gay pride.
More than 100 Cubans marched from Havana’s Central Park to the seafront boulevard before being stopped by dozens of security officials. Three activists were arrested by police officers, and others were ordered to disperse because the march did not have an official permit.
Mariela Castro, said in a statement that certain groups had been planning to use the event to undermine the government, emboldened by the escalation of aggression by the Trump administration against Cuba and against Cuba’s leftist ally Venezuela.
But many L.G.B.T. Cubans said that they believed the government was reacting more to pressure from evangelical churches, which have a growing following in Cuba and have campaigned against the expansion of gay rights.
“This isn’t a political march; this is a celebration to give the L.G.B.T. community visibility,” said one activist, Myrna Rosa Padrón Dickson.
The national center denounced the alternative parade as a “provocation,” and several activists said that they had received threats either anonymously on social media or from state security in person not to attend — not that it stopped them.